“Being from Rajasthan, I have had my fair share of stories about royalty. This, however, is like no other.”

It was dawn when we crossed through the palace gates. There were multiple crisscrossing corridors. The prince could be in any one of them. Despite being a royal, he tends to keep to himself. I kept searching for him for the next 2 hours. In and out.

We did hear some chatter among his subjects of where he could be and chased every lead. All in Vain. The prince was the king of staying hidden. It had started to become tiring. I felt that I wouldn’t have a meeting with him, at least not today.

The sun is now brightly up. The familiar chilly air of Rajasthani Decembers was still cold enough to make me shiver. The whole plan started to feel a bit miscalculated. Maybe I would be better off meeting some other royalty. The one at Sariska wasn’t exactly famous for its public appearances and timings.

Either way, we kept the search on. Not long after, the call came. I rushed to the location. Just a thicket of bushes was there, along with an eerie silence. A lot of other photographers and visitors were also there, all with a common goal – to catch a peek of the prince.

Amidst the speculation and estimation of his location, I did catch a glimpse of the prince. It was a tiny peek from him as he looked at us through the bushes. And was a magnificent sight for me as I looked in the viewfinder. As the crowd near me was in awe of the prince’s glimpse, he quietly receded out of our view. It felt like that was all I was going to see.

The First Peek

Directing my efforts back to the goal, which was finding the view, I made some changes to the plan. The protagonist of the story had planned something else for me.

As I stood in the jeep, adjusting my camera, the prince decided to wander out right in front of us. The magnitude of his presence could be felt despite the distance between us. The prince’s stroll was followed by his inspection of the surroundings. Following this, he marked his territory. The moment had me so hypnotised I nearly forgot to use my camera.

Yuvraaj Smelling his surroundings

A few minutes later, he prodded back into nearby bushes. I was a bit too overwhelmed when I realised – I had only seen his face partially. Well, I felt a bit disappointed with myself.

We drove a little further and halted. This was done in the hope of another sighting around the same place. Hopes started to diminish as the wait grew longer. As I kept looking at the tall grass, something felt a bit different. Impulsively, I pulled the camera and set the lens to max zoom to get a better glimpse.

And there he stood, looking at me, through the bushes. The stare was lethal. It was quite a spectacle, the prince of the forest looking you in the eye. No sound, just pure emotion flowing. I clicked hastily, not paying much attention to the shot as I kept looking in the viewfinder without blinking.

The Death Stare

And then he decided to do the unthinkable.

He walked out onto the road. No warning, no expectation, he just moved through the bushes to make himself visible. It was now visible why the prince, aptly named Yuvraj, was the boss here. I had never felt pride and fear at the same time. The stance was majestic, the eyes were lethal, and the moment was extraordinary.

King’s Stroll

After spending about five minutes observing the surroundings, he proceeded back into the bushes. This time he went back to his throne deep inside the forest, away from the view of any paparazzi. It was a pretty big event for me. The reason was simple – the prince had graced me with his presence on my very first safari. The sighting wasn’t an ordinary distant one either, but an encounter that has left me in awe.

The following 2 safaris went without any sightings of Yuvraj. Deer, monkeys and nilgais were in plenty.

A mother with her kid

As I headed home after three safaris at the Sariska Tiger Reserve, I carry some of my best wildlife images and hope.

The hope to meet the other Royals that rule over the forests of the Country.

The hope to hear the roar at its loudest.

Related Posts

Pink Mornings

Jaipur is a highly recommended destination for food and heritage lovers. And this story is about my best morning here.

Delhi 6

Old Delhi always provides me with views and experiences that last. This story is of my quest to find the perfect view of Delhi 6.

Bullet Baba

The fine line between a myth and a legend blurs at this temple in Rajasthan.

The Queen of the Hills

Ever wondered that why, of all places, it is Shimla that is known as the queen of the hills.

Ghat Banarasiya

The ghats of Banaras are the soul of the city. Beautiful, yet unpredictable.